Of course, it is sad to begin a new century with a war. Here, in Georgia, we have mixed feelings regarding the political developments around us, as Georgia has only recently become a member of the international community and our society does not have sufficient experience to judge the currents and undercurrents of international behavior.
When Saddam Hussein occupied Kuwait in 1990 the picture was clear, without any ambiguity. Assessing the event, we sided with a small and victimised nation. Even now, when we try to judge the present confrontation, we see Saddam’s Iraq in dark colours, stemming from our own, very negative experience of being a small nation under constant pressure from a giant neighbour - Russia.
Saddam is a monster and common sense dictates that if there were fewer such leaders, the world would become safer as a result.
Still, it is a horrifying responsibility to start any war, especially when it is hard to predict all its consequences, whether humanitarian, political or cultural.
But if the decision is made that Saddam should be eliminated from the political screen of the world, this goal should be based on normative imperatives and not on the national interests of any particular country. Moreover, the justification for the decision should be transparent to the international community. If it is clarified, it can be supported.
It is understandable that, in a world of competing norms and values, unilateral punitive measures against the leader of a state should be a matter of bitter and emotional controversy. But is there another way to get rid of the unacceptable?
© Alexander Rondeli 2003
Originally published as part of a debate on 6th February 2003 Writers, artists and civic leaders on the War: Pt. II
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